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Bizzare & Odd

Captain Dick Stevenson, Inventor of the Yukon’s Legendary Sourtoe Cocktail, Has Died

The inventor of the Sourtoe Cocktail willed his own toes to the Downtown Hotel for use in future drinks, and instructed his daughter how to remove and preserve them.

Inventor of the Sourtoe Cocktail Captain Dick Stevenson
Captain Dick Stevenson, inventor of the Sourtoe Cocktail

According to Dick Stevenson, he found the first toe in a cabin he bought in Dawson City in the early 1970s. It turned up in a pickle jar while Stevenson was cleaning out the cabin. A dried up human toe in a jar, frostbitten, supposedly cut off a prospector decades earlier.

Naturally, Stevenson thought it should go in a drink, and that’s how the Sourtoe Cocktail was born.

The mummified toe was placed in a beer glass full of champagne for those brave enough to accept the challenge. But to join the exclusive Sourtoe Cocktail Club at the Downtown Hotel, there is one rule: “You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but your lips must touch the toe.”

“I thought maybe only 10 or 12 people would ever do it,” Stevenson said in a 2017 interview.

But now, 50 years later, the club is 90,000 members strong and growing.

Sourtoe Cocktail
The Sourtoe Cocktail

“As a young man, he hitchhiked his way across Canada, working on cattle ranches and in logging and mining camps,” Canada’s CBC writes. “In 1956, he thumbed his way to Yukon and found a home in the Klondike. He worked as a fish warden in Dawson City for a while, but then became Captain Dick when he bought a boat and began offering tours on the Yukon River. He did that until his retirement.”

“Captain Dick was a true colorful five-percenter who changed Dawson’s brand,” Visit Dawson City tweeted. “His legacy is cemented with the Sourtoe Cocktail, but we’ll always remember him for his undying love of Dawson City. Thanks for everything Dick, we’ll toest one for you tonight.”

Over the years, the Downtown Hotel has accepted more than 10 amputated toe donations to help replace those that have been swallowed or stolen. And now, Stevenson’s own big toes will join the collection.

“I’m pretty sure I’m the only daughter in history that has to, following my dad’s will, make sure that his toes are removed and dried and make it up to Dawson City,” Stevenson’s daughter Dixie said. “He kept telling me how I’m supposed to dry his toes. So one day I said, ‘Dad, you have to come so I can type this out, because I’m not going to remember it.”

On her way to pick up containers and pickling salt for her father’s toes, Dixie added, “So as morbid as that sounds, this is what I’ll be doing for the next few weeks.”

Mummified human toe used in the Sourtoe Cocktail
One of the preserved human toes used in the Sourtoe Cocktail

Stevenson, surely an honorary member of the Cult of Weird, spent his final years in the Macauley Lodge Retirement Home with a briefcase. Inside, he kept a leather-bound registry of Sourtoe club members and a small collection of dried human toes.

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Bizzare & Odd

More than 5,000 strange holes have been found at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean

On a relatively small part of the Pacific Ocean, off the western coast of the United States, there are several thousand indentations of various sizes, the origin of which is not completely clear.

This was reported by scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).

The larger pits have an average width of 175 meters and a depth of about five meters. Their shape is almost perfectly round.

Over the last few years, experts at MBARI and other organizations have found more than 5,200 such holes, such as smallpox, on an area of ​​approximately 1 300 square kilometers. So far, this is the largest concentration of such sites in North America.

More recently, scientists have been exploring the bottom of California in more detail. The fact is that they want to build a power plant there, but first they need to study the local conditions in detail.

Thousands of small pits or micro-depressions have been discovered using sonars mounted on autonomous submarines. Their width is about 11 meters and the depth is about a meter. Moreover, their shape is not round but oval.

Previously, similar seabed depressions have been found elsewhere in the world, and their origin is mainly due to methane emissions.

However, MBARI researchers find no evidence of this gas in the bottom sediments or in the water in this region.

Large and small holes

Sonar data showing sludge bed layers, indicate that these points have been inactive for the last 50,000 years.

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Bizzare & Odd

Scientists discover that the Y chromosome is disappearing from the blood of men

A study has found that Y chromosomes of men are disappearing as they get older and could put them at greater risk of cancer.

Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes. The Y chromosome is considered the male chromosome and women don’t have it: they have the XX chromosomes while men have XY.

But researchers have discovered that many men also lack Y chromosomes in some of their white blood cells.

The investigation

To reach this conclusion, scientists led by the University of Cambridge conducted a study on samples of 205,011 men, obtained from the Biobank gene bank in the United Kingdom, which contains the DNA of 500,000 volunteers.

They identified 156 autosomal genetic variants related to the loss of the Y chromosome, which were preferably close to genes involved in the regulation of the cell cycle, susceptibility to cancer or somatic drivers of tumor growth.

They found that more than four in 10 men (43.6%) had lost a notable proportion of their Y chromosomes at the age of 70.

The researchers found that one in five men in a sample of more than 200,000 had begun to lose Y chromosomes of DNA in some of their blood cells.

20% of men of all ages had lost some of the Y chromosomes in their blood and this proportion had doubled when men were 70 years old.

Subsequent analysis showed that people with high genetic predisposition to lose the Y chromosome were at greater risk of suffering from some type of cancer. The autosomal genetic variants found also influenced other aspects such as reproductive aging or type 2 diabetes.

Possible causes

The study authors believe that the loss of Y occurs through predisposition to processes that promote errors in cell division, or processes that help create an environment where aneuploid cells (cells with an abnormal number of chromosomes) are more likely to proliferate.

The team that made the discovery said that this strange change may be a sign that men’s DNA was unstable and that the body was allowing random genetic mutations to accumulate.

The research has been published in the magazine Nature.

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Bizzare & Odd

The Dani cannibal tribe and their smoky dead ancestors

In the Baliem Valley, West Papua Province in Indonesia, lives a weirdly primitive tribe called the Dani People.

A few decades ago, Dani actively practiced ritual cannibalism. It is now reported that this tradition has been discontinued.

In their recent macabre history, there is no less a frightening tradition of smoked dried carcasses of their dead relatives over a fire. And also cutting off the phalanges of women’s fingers.

The phalanges were cut with a stone axe. This procedure is performed for those women who have lost a male relative: husband, son, brother or nephew, to emphasise the pain of loss and to appease the dead’s spirit.

The surgery was primitive and rough, but the wounds on the hands of the women healed well and fairly quickly.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

Recently, Italian photographer Gianluca Chiodini visited the village of Dani People and made unique color photographs.

Gianluca Chiodini

Chiodini wandered in the jungle for days trying to find the tribe and finally he was lucky.

The photographer shares:

“The natives greeted me warmly and did not even try to eat me.”

Gianluca was shocked to see the 250-year-old corpses of the dead, Dani’s “eternal” ancestors, completely black from smoking for a long time.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

The guide told the Italian that seven smoked mummies are stored in the village, but only two of them are allowed to be shown to strangers. The rest are taboos, and if the photographer tries to find them himself and photographs them, the natives could kill him.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

To prevent mummies from decomposing, they are removed daily and carefully smeared with ointment of herbs and lard. Then they are hung over the fire so that the smoke can penetrate well into the body. All this has been happening daily for 250 years.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

Dani people stopped eating their relatives only after 1990, at least officially. Now the meat they eat is mostly pork.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

The natives hunt wild pigs with bows and arrows. After being captured and killed, the pigs are wrapped in palm leaves and allowed to be smoked by fire, like the mummies of their ancestors.

When the meat is hot, it is considered ready. Men are the first to eat, and women and children eat what is left behind.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

Many women in the tribe have their fingers cut off, meaning they have lost many male relatives.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

Whether these deaths were in battle with neighboring tribes or through illness, history is silent …

Photo: Mediadrumimages / Gianluca Chiodini

Now, finger-cutting is also considered a forbidden procedure and in young women the fingers are already intact but you can still see the amputated hands of the older women.

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